When sharing words of encouragement or predictions of future success, people will occasionally tell others “You’ll go far”. While the words are certainly well-intentioned and foretelling good fortune, what do they reveal about the value(s) we see in others? This week, we welcome Sam Leder to dissect the compliment. Does the phrase indicate a minimal understanding of the true dreams and aspirations of those around us? What does the distance implied signify and from what or whom do we move away from in our pursuit of success?
At distinct moments in time, our lives are considered and evaluated by figures of authority, sympathy or community. As a result, many of us sculpt our lives to improve the inevitable review process attendant to these moments. So this week, we welcome Richard Pera to compare two of those “documents of self,” one’s resume and their eulogy. How do the traits we associate with each differ? How might a life lived for one’s resume contrast one lived for a more kind eulogy? How do the authors of these texts change their impact or reading?
The act of playing has shown clear benefits for our moods, social bonding and problem solving abilities. In children, play is an invaluable means of learning about the world. In the realm of video games, play can become an increasingly time-consuming and compulsive activity. This week, we’re joined by Yagmur Ugur to explore the intersection of video games and productivity. Where is the line between reward or relief and addictive pastime? How do we make use of recreation to reinvigorate or recontextualize our reality?
In the realm of humanity, our world is often dictated by those who have power and how they wield it around the less-powerful. But are there individuals with whom we can trust power more readily than others? This week, Sam Whipple joins us to explore how the collective places faith or suspicion on those in power. How do we discern and describe moral or just leadership in contrast to people in “wrongful” power? Are individuals who least want power the ones we could most trust to wield it carefully?
In the most basic senses, it is human to move towards pleasure or comfort and away from pain, difficulty and hardship. But where do these impulses and instincts intersect? This week, we welcome Dan Farina to explore the relationship between escapism and happiness. Is it common to conflate or confuse the two? Does a distinction between them require a certain cultural narrative or sense of self? Is one ever a more important focus than the other?